A bona fide professional organizer and simplified living expert, Annie Traurig’s Live Simply blog and business teach the importance of clarifying priorities, acting with intention, and creating a space for beauty, laughter, and ease. We sat down with Annie to chat about the importance of creating balance, how to live simply, and the biggest mistake she sees people make when organizing their homes.
Describe your design style for us in three words:
Fresh, Light, and Simplified (had to).
Sounds like our idea of a perfect space! How have you incorporated your design style into your own home?
My living room/office is a space I love to spend time in and is an area I think best encapsulates the ‘Live Simply’ methodology: each and every piece, from the custom-finish sofa to the titles on my bookcase and the few carefully selected antique or new décor items, are ones that have been chosen with the utmost intention. They are items whose presence makes me happy and whose functionality keeps me focused and efficient. And since the desk area is Live Simply HQ, you know it’s uber organized.
Staying focused and efficient can be tough, especially in a small space. How do you come up with unique and creative ways to stay organized?
My work with my clients causes me to continually rethink systems, strategies, and products. What works for one client may not work for another. Coming up with those individually tailored solutions is the challenge that keeps me on my game.
With having to be creative and tailor solutions to each client, what would you say has been your favorite project to-date?
My work brings me so much joy and fulfillment that choosing a favorite is like choosing from children. I would say it’s much less about the stuff than it is about the people; my favorite projects have been the ones with clients who are massively positive, motivated, and open to change. The transformations I’ve been able to achieve with those kinds of people blow us both away, I think.
If you could swap houses with any other blogger or designer, who would you choose and why?
Here’s me flunking this answer: I wouldn’t swap with anyone. To live simply is to love, need and benefit from exactly what you have, and trust that whatever you need or really want in the future you’ll be able to obtain. I wouldn’t want anything I didn’t expressly choose or seek out that would help me be my best self. That said, I adore the work of Jillian Harris, The Cross Interior Design, and Leo Parrella to name just a few; my buds Katie Hackworth of H2H Design + Build here in Seattle, as well as Leah Steen are both crazy talented ladies whose work I am always in awe of.
We understand that for a lot of people, ongoing organization can be incredibly overwhelming. What is the most common mistake you see people make when they try to organize their home?
I would say that the most common mistake people make is simply not making the time for organizing and editing and not calling in the appropriate resources to make it happen. Too many people live with disorder and chaos for far too long before they finally (if at all) decide to make turning their space into their sanctuary a priority. It does take time, but I can tell you that the longer you postpone the process of implementing the necessary systems, clarifying your priorities, and editing your belongings, the longer it will take.
Clients must be so grateful to have an expert like you come in and help with the process. What’s the best note or comment you’ve received from a client or blog reader?
When anyone, reader or client, tells you that your work has changed their life for the better—nothing tops that. When they tell me I caused them to see their stuff and space in a whole new light, and, mostly, when they tell me that I am responsible for their life being simpler, easier, and more joyful, I feel my purpose being put to use and my life being of real worth. And I’m pretty sure that’s like, the ultimate feeling around here.
Let’s talk about your dream space. If you could purchase any home from Redfin.com, which would you choose and why?
Zooey Deschanel’s digs are calling out to me. That screened-in porch area? The marble-trimmed tub? The dining room, alone! Tiles to die for, a window seat, and a dose of strong, classic color, all in one room? Somebody snatch it up!
Looks like you aren’t the only one who loved Zooey’s digs — somebody took your advice and DID snatch up the home just a couple of weeks ago. Speaking of home buying, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give to someone who just purchased their first home?
I know the desire to have everything put away and ‘be moved in already!’ is there and it’s so strong, but resist hurried shoving! Where it lands, it will likely stay (for decades; trust me!) and so you want to make sure you really take the time to think about what and where and how you’re putting things. A first home is a fresh start and a new beginning. Commit to living a simplified, organized life and it will be a pattern that sustains itself, whether it’s your first house or your fifth.